Colleges and universities worldwide, already faced with financial pressures brought on by decreasing enrollments and shrinking endowments, now have an additional challenge to contend with: affordability issues exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Oxford Economics, as many as 30 million jobs could vanish in the United States as a result of COVID-19 – three times the amount that were lost during the housing crash of 2008.1
The economic disruption created by the pandemic will make it harder for students and families to afford previously accessible programs. This will no doubt lead to increased reliance on both financial aid and payment plans, and in all likelihood, also require increased flexibility from institutions worldwide.
Offer payment plans with flexibility
Financial aid resources at many institutions will not be able to adequately address the affordability challenges students and families are facing during COVID-19. Anticipating this, the following best-practice recommendations may help to plan with confidence:
- Make payment plans available to all students. Flexible payment plans are a proven way for students and families to spread tuition expenses across smaller, easier-to-manage payments. As a standard practice, Flywire front-loads payment plans for its school partners to ensure they receive all tuition payments and fees in advance of the tuition/fee due date. For example, for a September 1 tuition/fee due date, a four-month plan would start in June, with payments scheduled to June1, July 1, August 1, and September 1. This is still a preferred approach, helping students and families budget and plan appropriately while generating cash flow for your school in advance of the semester.
- Modify standard terms to provide longer payment periods. To ease the financial pressure on students and families, your institution may want to consider modifying standard terms to extend payment periods into the school term being paid for. For example, a six-month plan that starts in June will continue through November in order to drive enrollment and increase affordability by reducing the monthly amount due.
Flywire simplifies the payment plan process
To help make education more affordable to bridge the growing gap between available financial aid and rising tuition costs, the above payment plan options can be easily deployed with Flywire’s comprehensive receivables solution. Our payment plans are highly configurable so your institution can automatically offer flexibility to help students budget tuition, fees, and other expenses over time.
Flywire simplifies the payment plan process by enabling you to:
- Easily set up, manage, and track traditional and on-demand payment plans
- Provide flexible domestic and international options, such as ACH, credit card, or debit card payments
- Streamline office operations via self-service account access, reporting, and transaction processing
- Allow multiple authorized parties to make payments on student accounts
- Proactively monitor accounts and engage payers to help increase timely payment
In addition, Flywire allows you to customize and/or pause payment plans on a case-by-case basis to address unique circumstances.
Review the complete report
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a range of uncertainties and obstacles that present significant challenges to schools, students, and families planning for the 2020-2021 academic year. Review the complete “Planning with Confidence in the COVID-19 Era” report to find out more about industry insights regarding key policies and best practices that will help education stakeholders plan with confidence in an effort to retain and drive student enrollment.
Sign the SOS #SaveOverseasStudies petition
As a result of the disruption caused by COVID-19, the ability for international students to study overseas is in jeopardy. Uncertainty around visa and immigration policies suggests that students will have greater difficulty obtaining access to travel into the country when in-person classes resume.
With millions of international students studying overseas annually, the need to continue to grant and extend student visas is critical for education institutions and overall economy. Sign the SOS petition to #SaveOverseasStudies and commit your support for international students to continue to travel and study today!